Stereospecific Reaction: One in which one or more reactants or catalysts cause a reaction to take place at specific conformational sites, thus leading to a preferred spatial geometry of the reaction product. Syndiotactic polymers are a result of stereospecific polymerization
For example, the addition of dibromocarbene to cis-2-butene yields cis-2,3-dimethyl-1,1-dibromocyclopropane whereas addition of dibromocarbene to the trans isomer exclusively yields the trans cyclopropane.
Stereoselective Reaction:stereoselectivity is the property of a chemical reaction in which a single reactant forms an unequal mixture of stereoisomers during the non-stereospecific creation of a new stereocenter or during the non-stereospecific transformation of a pre-existing one
An example of modest stereoselectivity is the dehydrohalogenationof 2-iodo-butane which yields 60% trans-2-butene and 20% cis-2-butene. Since alkene geometric isomers are also classified as diastereomers, this reaction would also be called diastereoselective.
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